Domestic violence is not an easy topic to talk about. However, because it affects so many people in the U.S. alone, it is important that not only individuals step up to help, but churches and non-profit organizations. Jessica Yaffa is one woman who is not being silent. She is the founder of a non-profit, “No Silence, No Violence.” The ministry has helped more than 6,000 victims of domestic violence and has helped start six ministries in three states. We sat down with Jessica two years ago and talked about her experience with abuse and how she found God.
Everyday, three women are murdered by a current or former male partner in the U.S.
Every nine seconds a woman is beaten in the U.S.
Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to experience intimate partner violence than women without disabilities
Every minute 20 people are victims to intimate partner violence
Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness amongst families
(statistics from Huffington Post)
“But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:15-17
Jessica recounted to us what life was like with her abuser.
“I don’t know that it gets much worse. My ex-husband attempted to control every aspect of my life. From following me to and from school, to not letting me answer my the door, to him coming home from work to hit star 69 [on the telephone] to see who I had been talking to, to clocking my miles to and from everywhere I went, to walking me down to the mail box, to timing my minutes in the laundry room; it was crazy. Then he put up cameras in the house so he could review my every move after he’d been gone for the day. And there were the beatings and the rape. It went from hitting and sexually abusing me as a means of managing me and keeping me in line, and further cementing his total control. All of his anger and insecurity was funneled into violence toward me. I couldn’t please him. I couldn’t stay out of his way. I had to just take it. Then you turn inward as a means of trying to stay sane. And in that dark, small place in the confines of your mind, where you are fighting for your life, you actually start to believe you are worthless. It’s even worse that physical death. It’s a spiritual death. I was right there for a time. Thank God there was still a glimmer of hope that allowed me to believe that I could make it out alive.”
“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15
Jessica reflected on how she came to know Christ.
“There were three things. First, that God was a Father, which I was desperate for. The second was that I was loved unconditionally, which meant that not only was it impossible for me to do something so wrong that He could love me less, but I couldn’t do anything so right that He would love me any more. The great thing about that is that me, just being me, was good enough for Him. Prior to that, the idea of just simply being never even crossed my mind. I was always trying to win someone over, or impress, or please. And thirdly, God was always with me. He is responsible for keeping me alive. And if He kept me alive, especially when I could have been killed a thousand times over, then He must have had a purpose.”
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, get help. Call the police and go to a professional counselor. If your church has a ministry like “No Silence, No Violence” get connected with them. It is important to find someone you can trust that you can share your story with and who will help you get the help you need to help you with your situation.
Help a friend and her family. Listen and talk with her. Believe what she shares with you. Do not judge her. It is important to reassure her that the abuse is not her fault. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance. If your friend has shared with you about an abusive situation, commit to helping her. You can research local resources from counseling to shelter. Offer to go with her to counseling or appointments.
Pray that churches and organizations would answer the call to help women and their families. Ask God to provide resources including food, shelter, and clothing to those serving victims of abuse. Pray that God would show those who have been hurt, how much He loves them and how valuable they are to Him. Pray that God would protect them and give them a window to get help. Pray that the abusers would commit to getting help.
To read our entire interview with Jessica Yaffa, click here
To check out No Silence No Violence click here.